Enbridge Hit With Criminal Charges Over Line 3 Aquifer Breach

Morgan Caplan, morgan.caplan@sierraclub.org

Clearwater County, MN – Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison announced today that his office filed criminal charges against Enbridge, the Canadian pipeline company behind the Line 3 tar sands pipeline, over an aquifer breach that happened during construction of the controversial pipeline. Enbridge admitted to the breach and the mishandling of the incident's aftermath including the delayed effort to notify the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. Attorney General Ellison also entered into a diversion agreement contingent on the company not breaking the law again, paying a fine, and fulfilling all terms of the settlement.

During the course of construction of Line 3, Enbridge had dozens of spills of chemical-laden drilling fluid, polluting the water at more than 60% of their horizontal directional drilling sites.

Enbridge completed construction last fall, despite the US Army Corps of Engineers never conducting a full environmental impact statement analyzing the pipeline’s impacts on clean water, communities, and the climate.

In response, Sierra Club North Star Chapter Director Margaret Levin released the following statement:

“For far too long, Enbridge has operated with impunity in Minnesota and across the Midwest, running their toxic tar sands oil through our waterways and communities without regard for the devastating impacts of their numerous leaks, spills, and safety violations. We applaud Attorney General Ellison for doing what he could within existing law to finally hold Enbridge accountable for their egregious safety record. The law needs to be changed so that polluters are fully held accountable for their crimes, with penalties proportionate to the damage. It’s also clearer than ever that federal agencies need to step in before Enbridge does any more harm."

About the Sierra Club

The Sierra Club is America’s largest and most influential grassroots environmental organization, with millions of members and supporters. In addition to protecting every person's right to get outdoors and access the healing power of nature, the Sierra Club works to promote clean energy, safeguard the health of our communities, protect wildlife, and preserve our remaining wild places through grassroots activism, public education, lobbying, and legal action. For more information, visit www.sierraclub.org.